Exxon Mobil has selected investment major BlackRock as the likely buyer for its stake in the Adriatic liquefied natural gas (LNG) import terminal in Italy, reported Reuters.

Italy is expected to expand LNG imports in part to replace the gas it previously imported via pipeline from Russia.

Infrastructure funds and foreign organisations have shown interest in the stake sale.

“The selection is the result of a thorough evaluation process that involved several prospective buyers,” an Exxon representative was quoted by the news agency as saying.

Exxon stated that because a definitive agreement had not been reached, it was still working on the acquisition.

The terms of the deal were not made public.

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Earlier this year, Exxon said it would sell its 70.68% stake in the Adriatic LNG terminal as part of efforts to exit non-core operations.

QatarEnergy subsidiary Qatar Terminal Company holds a 22% stake in the terminal and the remaining 7.3% interest is held by Snam.

Snam, an Italian Government-backed gas grid operator, could increase its stake because it has the first right of refusal if a partner decides to sell.

The offshore terminal, which lies 15km off Porto Viro in the Veneto region of Italy’s northern Adriatic Sea, is run by Terminale GNL Adriatico.

Two industry insiders told the news agency that Snam could increase its shareholding in Adriatic LNG to around 30% to maintain governance authority over the energy infrastructure.

The deal attracted bids from at least four multinational companies, with the total value of the regasification terminal estimated to be around €800m ($881m).

At the end of September 2023, ExxonMobil announced its exit from the Kaieteur oil exploration block off the coast of Guyana.